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Nutritional Comparison of Flaxseeds, Flaxmeal, and Flaxseed Oil

Flaxseed War: Whole vs. Ground vs. Oil

Flaxseeds are so popular that it seems like they're being added to just about everything from bread to corn chips to cereal. They're high in fiber and a great source of omega-3s (especially if you don't eat fish). You can also buy them separately to add to your own foods, but should you pick up whole flaxseeds, the kind that are ground up, or the oil made from the seeds?

All three forms of flax are best suited for different needs. Whole flaxseeds are good for topping cereal or salads or for baking. You might not like the texture, so that's where ground flaxseeds come in. Stir the powder into your oatmeal, add it to pancake batter, or mix it into your smoothies. Flaxseed oil is great stirred into salad dressings, mixed into yogurt, or drizzled on roasted veggies.

When you look at them nutritionally, there's a pretty big difference. I made a handy little chart, so keep reading to see how they compare.

1 tbsp. whole flaxseed (10 g) 1 tbsp. ground flaxseed (7 g) 1 tbsp. flaxseed oil (14 g)
Calories 55 37 119
Total Fat (g) 4 3 14
Saturated Fat (g) 0 0 1
Carbs (g) 3 2 0
Fiber (g) 3 2 0
Protein (g) 2 1 0
Calcium (mg) 26.1 17.9 0
Iron (mg) .6 .4 0
Omega-3s (g) 2.3 1.6 7.2
Omega-6s (g) .6 .4 1.7

Whole flaxseeds contain the most protein, calcium, and fiber, while ground flaxseeds are lowest in calories. If omegas are what you're after, go for the flaxseed oil.

Which form of flax do you eat most?

Image Source: Thinkstock
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Join The Conversation
Susanrae22 Susanrae22 3 years
I use whole flaxseed mixed in with low-fat cottage cheese, a sprinkle of black pepper and it's awesome! I use milled flaxseed ( flaxmeal) in yogurt, smoothies and with cereal. Haven't tried to baking thing but plan to.
GummiBears GummiBears 4 years
I use whole flaxseeds in baking and in my oatmeal since it doesn't go rancid as quickly.
elizlovescrisro elizlovescrisro 4 years
I use ground flaxseed in my smoothies and oatmeal. I thought whole wasn't good because we don't digest them?
Jenny-Sugar Jenny-Sugar 4 years
The oil is a quick and easy source of omegas, so I just pour a tablespoon on my salad, and hardly know it's there. I wouldn't cook with it as it breaks down at high temps. Also be sure to store it in the fridge since it goes rancid quickly.
jod0143 jod0143 4 years
I like using ground flax for baking as an egg replacer. I like whole flaxseeds though in my oatmeal and in smoothies. I have yet to try the oil!
wackdoodle wackdoodle 4 years
Ground in baked goods and smoothies. And whole in my stir-frys and some other baked goods. But whenever I eat them whole they get stuck in my teeth. I haven't tried the oil version. I prefer to stick with EVOO and just put flax seeds in my food and drinks.
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